When summer began, Glen Sather had his work cut out, needing to not only fill the No.1 center need with landing Brad Richards AKA Richy Rich, but our much maligned GM also knew he had to get some vital pieces re-signed. So far, so good for Slats who today re-signed veteran blueliner Steve Eminger to a one-year deal (undisclosed). It probably should range between 800-925 K. A nice discount for a team guy who earned $1.5 million after coming over from Anaheim in exchange for Aaron Voros and Ryan Hillier.
The well traveled vet who turns 28 on Halloween looks to have found a home in the Big Apple after filling in admirably as the sixth defenseman most of last season. In 65 games, Eminger totaled two goals and four assists with just 22 penalty minutes. While nothing earth shattering for a former first round pick that's on his sixth NHL team, he more than made up for it with gritty play- registering 143 hits and 101 blocked shots as part of a team that sacrificed for the common cause.
When there were injuries to Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, Eminger adequately filled in even elevating his play with increased minutes. Considering that I wasn't too keen when we traded for him, he definitely won over a new fan. On a young D that's anchored by Staal and Girardi with kids Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer, Mike Del Zotto and likely Tim Erixon, bringing him back makes sense. There's nothing wrong with having an experienced player who actually isn't that old. Even if it makes it unlikely Pavel Valentenko or Tomas Kundratek will make the club. Considering how physical the game is, you can never have enough depth on the back end. See the '10-11 New Jersey Devils for why.
There's still the prevailing thought that with all the depth, Slats is cooking up something. Might camp result in a trade? With Mikhail Pashnin also expected to join the mix, it's sure to be crowded. Too close for comfort. After our top four, nobody should assume they have a spot. It should make for some stiff competition.
Cally On Deck: With Sather getting another player done, he's quietly had a nice summer. He also brought in vet pugilist Mike Rupp to fill in as team enforcer while getting Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky re-signed. All that's left is Ryan Callahan, who could go to arbitration this Saturday if the two sides don't reach a deal. Considering how they were able to work it out with Dubinsky, it's easy to conclude a similar scenario that'll make everyone happy.